Season one of the new Netflix original, “The Order,” gets off to a rough start, with the first few episodes painfully long and uninteresting. The plot follows working-class Jack Morton (Jake Manley) as he gets accepted into the prestigious Belgrave University.
Seeking revenge for the death of his mother, Jack gets involved with a secret order and the conflict between magic-users and werewolves. There’s also a lot of secret organizations and mysterious people in robes, which I’m always a fan of. Unfortunately, they hold off on most of the cool stuff until around the third episode.
To get to any of the interesting parts, you have to suffer through about an hour and a half of self-conscious dialogue and Jack walking around being really annoying. Jack is meant to be a working-class kind of guy, a little rough around the edges, but smart and down to earth. You’re supposed to pick up on this because he has unwashed hair, a denim jacket and only drinks beer.
While Jack isn’t the worst character, he’s not really compelling. In the first episode, he keeps interrupting the college tour guide and later love interest, Alyssa Drake (Sarah Grey) to show off how much he knows about the university’s history. He then takes over the entire tour because he knows more than her, the person who actually attends the school. I found this infuriating.
I honestly believe I’m entitled to some kind of reward for making it through the beginning. I thought there was only one episode out and that I would be free after I finished the first hour. But alas, I was not.
There are a couple moments that really work, like in the first episode when Jack rejects one of the fraternities on campus. The scene was very well done, with the frat members acting like sweet doofuses and getting all self-conscious about their ceremonial robes. But then it goes right back into making sure we realize that Jack is smart.
Wow, he solved a challenge! Wow he knows what utilitarianism is! Clearly he’s someone special. Much of the first episodes follow that plot, as they show him familiarizing himself on campus, getting initiated and making friends. There’s also some student deaths, but they weren’t as riveting as they could’ve been.
This is an important plot point, that something’s killing the new order members, but for some reason it isn’t that gripping or dramatic. But at the end of the second episode, they really start to deliver. The pace picks up and there’s some great magic moments and interpersonal drama. The show starts hitting its stride, something I had previously despaired of.
From there on, the show is much better. The dialogue is snappier, the plot picks up and more of the horror aspect is shown. Finally the werewolves reveal themselves! There are more secrets and secret groups that try to reel Jack in. The villains get way better dramatic speeches and shadowy evil talks. Jack and his friends use magic to scam people and get free pizza.
"The Order" has a good plot, suitably dramatic visuals and generous amounts of gore. While the characters are a little cliched and the first part drags on, it’s worth giving a chance.